Is there a minimum degree of illness (subjectively speaking) for which one can request a refuah sheleimah (a speedy recovery) while saying Shemona Esreh? Can one request it for one’s child, for example, if (s)he has a cold? Or one’s spouse, if (s)he has a headache?

  • 2
    What, God's too busy to deal with it? Too much effort for Him? Saving His energy for the real complicated stuff where He really needs to focus?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 11:38
  • Not an answer because I don't have a source but I had read that you bentch for someone who is unable to make it to shul. When he can get to shul, you can stop. So that is the standard according to that idea.
    – rosends
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 11:47
  • Good q. I heard (hold) that mentioning someone in Tefila for any need awakens Dinim, "opening his whole file before the Beis Din Shel Maalah". So one should ask himself - is it "worth it"? THerefore mentioning kids is different as they are not accountable for their deeds.
    – Al Berko
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 21:20

1 Answer 1


I have two thoughts that might help us calibrate

  • the definition of a sick person on Shabbat for which we are allowed to take medicine is someone who needs to lay down in bed or if he has a pain that is bothering him and his whole body pains him, even if he still walks, he is similar to someone bedridden (SA OC 328:17) - it stands to reason we can pray for someone like this
  • in a related question on MY, I was told "[the addition in] refaenu is meant for urgent/critical cases, e.g., sudden bad news or a hospital operation, and is not meant to be said over long periods of time for chronic cases."

I would therefore suggest the threshold needs, at a minimum, to be enough to call someone sick on shabbat and is meant to be of temporary nature.

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